1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Axle/hubs Drop vs thru

    I know, kind of, the difference between the standard QR drop axle/ hub setup versus thru axle. Could someone explain how they work, the advantages of the thru and why the vast differences in axle size?
    I am fork hunting and the QR drop seems to be on its way to being obsolete.

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    All hubs have axles.

    In a traditional quick release hub, the axle is permanently installed in the hub. When I put the wheel in a bike, I rest the dropouts on the axle, adjust my quick release skewer with the little nut, and lock it with the cam. The skewer functions in tension only, and the fork or rear triangle is clamped onto the hub, which ends up in compression. The clamping action between the lock nuts on the hub and the inside faces on the acorn nut and cam on the quick release skewer provides some resistance to bending, but not very much. Mostly, that has to come from the fork or frame itself. For forks especially, that means the dropouts are pretty far away from anything that would give them good stiffness.

    With the newer hub, the axle actually comes out, and it's a precision(ish) fit in the holes in the fork or frame. That interface has some stiffness of its own, more so when everything is locked down. So it lends more stiffness to a fork or rear triangle.

    The only difference I can tell is that the new through axles are kind of a pain to use, and the Maxle Lite is way too fragile to be on an off road bike.

    Bigger riders say they can feel a difference.

    The differences in axle size aren't actually that big. The smaller of the two axle sizes in a QR system is 9 mm. That really skinny thing you're looking at isn't an axle. The biggest through-axle I know is 20 mm. While that should be 4-16 times stiffer, frankly, I can't tell the difference. My '01 Marzocchi Bomber tracked noticeably better than the worn out '06 Manitou R7 it replaced, and that tracked noticeably better than the crappy RST fork that came on my old Hardrock, but my shiny new Reba and its pain-in-the-butt Maxle don't do any better (at tracking, it is a smoother ride and it's easier and less of a compromise to tune out bob) than my old 'Zoke.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    As a newbie you wont notice a difference. Through 30 years of riding and bicycles, I finally got a bike with through axles. I can feel a difference, although when you're in the thick of things you won't. The easiest place to feel a difference is to ride on the road and go diagonally over a curb. When the rear tracks over it compare an old QR setup with my new through axle and I definitely feel it get noodley in comparison.

  4. #4
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    I am fork hunting. There are many mote forks with thru axles than the traditional QR drop available. Hence the thread. I need to research whether my hub is convertible. I don't want to drop that kind of cash right now on a new hub and a fork & installation.
    For me the increased tracking performance is not as important as suspension performance.

  5. #5
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    I am fork hunting. There are many more forks with thru axles than the traditional QR drop available. Hence the thread. I need to research whether my hub is convertible. I don't want to drop that kind of cash right now on a new hub and a fork & installation.
    For me the increased tracking performance is not as important as suspension performance.

  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    If you need to research it, your hub is probably not convertible. But if you pull your front wheel and post a pic, probably someone can tell.

    What bike do you have? How long do you want to keep it? Are you going to be content just doing the fork, or will you discover a new need as soon as you have it? Are you in this to throw parts at bikes as a hobby or would you rather your bike just did its job and let you get on with the sport?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    Andrw
    I have an 08 Jamis Trail X 3.0
    Formula Disc hubs.
    I plan on keeping it for a while. With my age and lack of challenging trails I can't see the need for a super duper mountain bike.
    I plan on using the upgrade on replacement system. I like the bike. It rides & fits well aside from the fork.
    I nicknamed the RST Gila fork Spongefork Gilapants. It bounces like a Jack Russell on a trampoline. Preload is maxxed.
    As I mentioned before the selection of forks is much greater when a thru axle is used. Gearhead I am not. In need of a better fork I am.

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  9. #9
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    Well, if you can be mostly happy with that bike for six years, you can probably be mostly happy with it for six more. The only thing to watch out for is if you're trending toward more riding or harder riding, you may find you start suffering more failures. I was relatively content with my Hardrock until I moved to a place with more opportunity to ride. Then I started riding more (go figure!) and competing, and despite two and a half years of relative stability, everything started failing.

    So you might ask yourself if whatever's giving you the impetus to do this now will apply to everything else on the bike. It's not really about super duper, at a basic level, so much as just reliability.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
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    AndrwThe impetus is as you said reliability. This fork just is not functioning properly. When I stand up & pedal it bounces. On a climb or when trying to gain speed it is extremely annoying. I haven't been over anything yet that has bottomed out but it is only a matter of time. Loss of control because of an inferior fork ....no thanks. Your interest & input are appreciated.

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